As the second most common pet in Australia, a good proportion of a vet clinic’s patients are likely to be cats. However, cat owners are often reluctant to bring their pet to the vet due to the typically stressful nature of such visits. And it’s not just the cat who gets stressed. The way the cat responds to the vet often affects how the owner feels about the visit.
By removing some of this stress, a veterinary visit will be much easier for everyone. This will make your feline patient easier to treat. Your clients will also be happier, and more willing to come to your clinic for routine appointments.
So how can you create a cat friendly practice and ensure a vet visit is more comfortable for cats? Here are a few tips.
If you have a larger-sized practice, providing a cats-only waiting room will significantly reduce the fear that cats can feel when sharing a space with dogs. A separate entrance for cats that leads directly into the waiting room will further reduce any anxiety for your feline patients.
Dedicated cats only consult rooms and wards are another great way to put cats at ease, as there will be no scent of dogs. If you have a smaller practice and are unable to have assigned spaces for dogs and cats, you could try and schedule your appointments into separate sessions for dogs and cats to reduce interactions.
Using feline pheromone sprays can also help to remove the smell of dogs in smaller spaces such as consult rooms.
A frightened cat is very hard to keep still on a table during an appointment. With the examination process taking up less than half of an appointment time, it’s a good idea to put locks on your consult room doors. This ensures you – or the owner – doesn’t have to hold the cat during the entire examination. By locking the door, the cat can walk freely throughout the room, and not feel restricted.
When entering your vet clinic, the first thing a client does is approach reception to check in. By having a reception desk that is clear from clutter, and isn’t too high, your clients can put their cat carriers on the counter top instead of having to place it on the floor. This means that dogs cannot approach the carrier, and cats cannot see other animals in front of their carrier door.
When designing their new veterinary clinic, the owner of the Pet Wellness Centre wanted to accommodate the specific needs of their feline patients.
The vet clinic has a number of cat friendly features, including a cats-only entrance and waiting room. There is also a dedicated cat consult room and cats-only ward. Cat calming diffusers and sprays are on offer, with “pet tunes” for cats and cat conscious equipment and protocols.
Their dedication to providing a stress-free experience for their feline patients has been officially recognised by the International Society of Feline Medicine and is accredited as a Gold Certificate cat friendly vet practice.
Are you considering refurbishing your vet clinic, or opening up a brand new practice? Give us a call on 1300 765 344, or check out some of our recent vet practice fitouts for some inspiration.